Width: 3.000 cm
Length: 3.000 cm
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Gold openwork plaque showing Amenemhat IV
Probably from Byblos (modern
12th Dynasty, around 1795 BC
Amenemhat IV offering ointment to Atum
The purpose of this plaque is uncertain. As there are no suspension loops or other fastenings, it is unlikely to be a pectoral (ornament worn on the chest). It is possible that it was used to decorate a larger object such as a box or other item of furniture.
The plaque was made using the technique called 'ajouré'. The design is cut out of sheet metal by using a chisel to punch around the outline; the Egyptian craftsman did not possess shears or fine saws. To get over the difficulty of producing smooth edges, strips of metal were soldered onto the base plate to provide cells into which inlay could be added. This technique was often used to produce pectorals and other pieces of jewellery.
without further adornment are quite rare. Here the details on the
The discovery of the plaque at Byblos shows that Egypt had contacts, probably through trade, with this important port during the Middle Kingdom (2040-1750 BC).
E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)
I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)